Jan 28, 2022
Daimler CEO Eyes Tech Valuations as It Rebrands to Mercedes
(Bloomberg) -- Daimler AG’s chief executive officer is pursuing a higher valuation for the luxury-car maker as the manufacturer shifts deeper into electric vehicles packed with digital gadgets.
Following the spinoff of Daimler’s truck unit in December, the carmaker will change its name to Mercedes-Benz on Feb. 1, to signal its segue to a nimble standalone unit tackling the industry’s transformation. Mercedes aims to have battery-powered models in all its segments this year to rival Tesla Inc.
“I can definitely see a chance to boost our multiple,” CEO Ola Kallenius said during a press conference, pointing to the higher valuations attached to other luxury and technology stocks. “If we can boost cashflow and our multiple, there’s lots of potential in the Mercedes-Benz stock.”
Traditional carmakers including Volkswagen AG are struggling to lift from low trading multiples even as they’ve started to churn out electric cars. The lack of credit from capital markets puts automakers at a disadvantage to compete with new rivals like Apple Inc. and Tesla with superior financial firepower.
Kallenius is helming a restructuring to focus on high-end models with autonomous driving offerings aimed at boosting Daimler’s revenue even as the company invests billions in new technology. The company has gained around 40% in value over the last 12 months to a current 74 billion euros ($82.4 billion).
Daimler’s main Mercedes-Benz division endured widespread production snarls during the third quarter of 2021 because of the chip shortage. Deliveries recovered somewhat in the final three months of the year, but the manufacturer still lost its luxury-car sales crown to rival BMW AG for the first time since 2015. The company is due to report annual earnings on Feb. 24.
Daimler in December spun off its truck division into a separate listing, ending more than a century of the businesses running under one roof. The move is intended to allow the companies to intensify focus on the sweeping technology changes buffeting their respective segments.
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